Stay curious…or stick close to someone who is!

It’s Friday!!  That strange little Rebecca Black song is bouncing around in my head, permanently replacing TGIF and my anticipation is building because it’s going to be a weekend of fun!  I’m partying with a preschooler, and I couldn’t be more enthusiastic!  Our 3 ½ year old granddaughter, Sophia, is coming to spend not one, but TWO nights with Nan and Papa. She is an active and clever little girl with an exponentially expanding curiosity that amuses and delights those around her.  She asks a LOT of questions and we are ready.

All children are naturally curious and asking questions is how they learn to make sense of their world.  What has occurred to me; however, is what did grandparents do before Google? I don’t actually know all that much about dinosaurs.  I know T-Rex and can identify a Brontosaurus, I think, but after that I need a cheat sheet.  I have a general knowledge of why the succulents in my backyard have long spikey flowers that only last a couple of days and then die. But I get a little stumped when asked why giving them more water doesn’t help. I also have never taken the time to really know the names of all my cactus and succulents.  She seems a little disappointed in me here.

Then sometimes quite unexpectedly she just tests my knowledge.  Kind of like a pop quiz.  “Nan, can you name all the planets?”  Oh dear.  Hasn’t there been some major change in the planetary lineup?  I should have been paying more attention.  I meant to really learn all this, but I thought I had more time.  Fortunately, she didn’t really want my input, but was hoping to give me the benefit of what she had learned the night before watching the Discovery Channel with daddy.  She spouted out the names of the planets (I have to take her word for it that they were in order) and threw in some comment about a black hole. I’m more of an Arts and Letters kind of person, not so much the Arts and Sciences. She, on the other hand, watches Sid the Science Kid.

So this weekend we are going to Pasadena’s Kidspace,  an “energetic” learning environment.  We can learn together about fossils and dinosaurs, and discover how things work!  What I can do is explore things with her, and who knows what I’ll learn.  That goes for all of us.  A major part of being alive and staying mentally alert across the lifespan is nurturing the curiosity that is born in all of us.  Google it, read about it, listen and learn…most of all, pay attention.

Sometimes just knowing what you DON’T know and being open to investigation can open us up to so many brand new interests.  Sophia and her family are regular patrons of the Long Beach Aquarium.  I’ve had many interesting conversations with Sophia while standing at the shark tank. And this year I will be increasing my attentiveness! I’m primed and ready for new and scintillating conversation—I’m getting ready for Discovery Channel’s Shark Week 2011!  Mark your calendar for July 31st!

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